Silvia Neid was given the perfect send-off as her Germany side beat Sweden 2-1 to claim gold in the women’s football final at Rio 2016.
Neid, who is standing down after 11 years in charge, has enjoyed much success as a player and coach during her illustrious career, but an Olympic triumph had previously proved elusive.
However, a fine strike from Dzsenifer Marozsan and Linda Sembrant’s comical own goal ensured Germany were deservedly crowned champions for the first time at the Maracana on Friday, with Stina Blackstenius’ response ultimately in vain for Sweden.
After leading the United States to Olympic glory in 2008 and 2012, Sweden coach Pia Sundhage was aiming to secure another gold with the country of her birth.
Sweden had recorded shock victories over the USA and Brazil en route to the final, some dogged defending forcing two penalty shoot-outs in which their more illustrious opponents were beaten.
However, Sundhage’s side were left with too much to do after conceding twice in the first 17 minutes of the second half against Germany.
Marozsan broke the deadlock in style two minutes after the interval, with a curling strike into the top-right corner from the edge of the box.
That effort provided the sort of quality that had been sorely lacking before the break – a woeful miss from Anja Mittag the most notable incident of an opening period otherwise short of clear-cut chances.
Germany looked set to triumph with a degree of comfort when a Marozsan free-kick struck the post after 62 minutes and Sembrant inadvertently thundered the loose ball into her own net.
Yet Sweden responded swiftly through Blackstenius, who converted a first-time ball from the right to set up a grandstand finale.
Alexandra Popp and Marozsan went close to adding a third for Germany, whose men will go for gold against Brazil on Saturday, before Sweden applied late pressure that was ultimately unrewarded.
Earlier in the day, Canada beat Brazil 2-1 in the bronze medal match.
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